Kanye West has given an extraordinary interview to BBC Radio 1, his first radio interview since the release of ‘Yeezus’.
Speaking to Zane Lowe, in the hour-long interview broadcast on BBC Radio 1 earlier this evening (September 23), an effusive West barely let Lowe get a word in edgeways, giving his opinion on everything from the glass ceiling for black artists in the music industry to his own fashion projects, his perceived megalomania, his creative ambitions and his partner, Kim Kardashian.
Kanye West started the interview by saying that he wouldn’t be where he is today, were it not for Michael Jackson. “I would not be Kanye West were it not for Michael Jackson – he had to fight to get his video played because he was black… for me in my life of creativity its been challenging, but I was able to ascend to massive level and heights… There would be no Kanye West if it wasn’t for Michael Jackson.”
In the interview, which was originally supposed to air across the week, from Monday to Thursday (September 23-26), West also explained that as an artist “I’m here to crack the pavement and break new ground, sonically.” Speaking about his most recent album, ‘Yeezus’, he commented: “For me as Kanye West, I got to fuck shit up… I’m going to take music and try to make it three dimensional… I’m not here to make easy listening, easily programmable music.” He said of collaborator Rick Rubin, “he’s not a producer, he’s a reducer”.
As well as declaring himself the “number one rock star on the planet”, saying: “We the real rock stars and I’m the biggest of all of them”, West also spoke about people’s reactions to his ‘rants’, or his ‘motivational talks’ and made reference to the 1998 Jim Carey film The Truman Show, saying: “I’ve reached a moment in life where my Truman show boat has hit the wall.” On breaking new ground in terms of his outspoken style, he said: “There’s no-one in this space that looks like me, if they are, they’re quiet as fuck… I bought real rap back, I’m going to do dope things.”
Speaking about his other projects, including his Yeezy trainers and his frustration with Nike for not wanting to make more, he said: “I can make music, I can do it, but I shouldn’t be limited to one place of creativity… You guys don’t understand that I did the Yeezys and they eBayed for $90,000 but I didn’t get a call from Nike the next day.” He then said that he wanted to make basketball uniforms for his high school team, adding of his grand ambitions: “Eventually I want to be the anchor and the force behind a billion dollar company… I eventually want to be an anchor behind the first trillion dollar company.”
He went on to say that he “never really liked” his 2005 hit single ‘Gold Digger’, but did it because he knew it would make money. When speaking about his partner Kim Kardashian, he said: “She gave me everything. She gave me a support system. She’s in a powerful enough situation that she could love me without asking for money,” he said, adding that was something which was hard to find.
He praised his ‘Watch The Throne’ collaborator Jay Z in the interview, saying: “Me as Kanye West, a young revolutionary coming out of Chicago [I] wouldn’t have made it without Jay Z as my big brother, watching my back.”
On Kendrick Lamar’s controversial ‘Control’ verse on Big Sean’s recent track, he said: “I don’t do diss records. Yeah, friendly competition, that’s cool – that’s fine.” West is about to head off on tour with Lamar in North America. Of this he said: “I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to speak to this brother as much as possible… He’s one of our future messengers and I’m gonna give him some jewels.”
The interview took place when the rapper visited the UK earlier this month. It is only the second interview of West’s ‘Yeezus’ album cycle – the first of which was carried out by Kim Kardashian’s mother Kris Jenner.